Is a small town 24km east of Osuna is famous for two very different reasons. Chiefly it is renowned for the biscuits known as polvorones and mantecados which it bakers make each Christmas and which are eaten across this region of Andalucía.
Romans re-populated the town from their settlements elsewhere in the region and called it Ostipo, although they themselves were ejected by Visigoths from the Baltic regions four centuries later. In the eighth century, the Moorish armies who had invaded the south-western tip of the region in 711 CE took the town and renamed it Istabba. The Arabs renovated an abandoned pre-Roman castle at the top of the San Cristobal hill on which the town sits, and began fortifying it against the incursions during the Reconquest. Shifts in power between various caliphates saw it fall under the control of various caliphs, including the kingdoms of both Granada and Sevilla. The renowned poet Al Zawwali lived here before returning to Marrakech in 1220 shortly before his death.
Estepa's fortunes took an unexpected turn in the early 19th century, when the consequences of successive wars and economic downturn transformed Estepa into a haven for the bandoleros, or bandits, who haunted the mountains and often made outrageous forays into the towns and villages. Most notorious was José Maria Hinojosa Cabacho, 'El Tempranillo', who once issued what was in effect a press statement saying that while the King may well rule Spain, he, Tempranillo, ruled the mountains. Infamous names such as Juan Caballero, El Vivillo and El Pernales were also regular visitors. The bandoleros were dealt with in brutal reprisals.